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    The student council speaks: interview with Wouter Kuijk

    WOUTER: "STUDENTS MUST HAVE THE SENSE THAT THEY ARE REPRESENTED AND THAT WE ARE THERE FOR THEIR PROBLEMS."

    Wouter Kuijk is known in the Student Council for his entrances to the office and meetings. Maybe you have already seen him on campus on his wheel and you wondered who actually moves on the campus with such a 'thing'.

    Wouter, how many times have you actually fallen with that wheel?

    Wouter: "It sometimes happens that I have to jump off of it not to fall. But really fall? Maybe five times. Once I fell in front of the Resto on campus. A miracle that nobody saw that (laughs). "

    Meanwhile you are a member of the Student Council for the second year. What was your motivation to become a candidate for the elections?

    Wouter: "Especially to learn. I already knew how the student associations worked and I wondered what happened at the level of the Student Council and the rest of the university. I wanted to gain more insight and see what could possibly be changed. "

    What have you already learned specifically?

    Wouter: "Meeting techniques and to give criticism at the right moment. I have an opinion on everything, but I have to make choices on which topic I really want to focus in order to achieve my goals. I have also learned a lot about meeting structures and how decisions are made in a council. "

    And what exactly do you do in the Student Council?

    Wouter: "The important meetings that I attend are the Student Council, the Academic Council and now also the University Council. I mainly look at what points are discussed in these councils, which are relevant for students and in which I believe that students are represented too little. We must point out that it is not okay that things are decided behind the scenes without the input of students. If that happens I give the criticism that the university should take the students and their input more in account. It is not that like I accomplish big things, but I mostly want the university to take the students into account. The nice thing about the student council is that you are aware of everything that is going on at the VUB. "

    Do you have specific ideas to realize something now?

    Wouter: "Yes, together with Floriano (Coordinator Education) I want to add the student's commitment within the student life to the diploma. For example, if you were president in a student association or member of the Student Council, you put a lot of time in this and this would be some sort of recognition. We sit down together and prepare a proposal that we can introduce on a board. Then we wait for the reactions and see what the possibilities are. "

    Why do you think the Student Council is relevant?

    Wouter: "If the students are no longer represented, you will not notice anything for the first five years, but after a while things will be decided that are not necessarily to the advantage of students. Every group within this university needs participation in day-to-day operations and meetings. "

    Is the voice of students big enough according to you?

    Wouter: "If all places are filled in in the training councils, the faculty councils and the Student Council, certainly! Ye it’s true that it is difficult to make our voice visible. The things like the lockers or the night bus that we have realized are small things in our day-to-day operations. Those projects are great, but the most important thing is to represent the students position in the policy. "

    What do you hope the Student Council can be for students who live on campus, in Brussels or students who commute?

    Wouter: "I want students to know what is going on at the VUB and not just come to class and then immediately go back to the student house or home. Unfortunately, this is the case for many. Students must be able to do their thing, but know that they can come to us if there is something wrong. We can help or forward people to the right contacts. Students must feel that they are represented and that we are there for their problems. We are now working hard on this by, for example, make contact with the training councils. Normally, 500 students are in these councils. With these students, we want to create a better bond so that the information flow is better. "

    A final question: are there specific projects that you are looking forward to accomplish this year?

    Wouter: "Yes! We want to organize a reception moment with those in the training councils to get to know them better. I don’t think that is just fun, but also very important. If we could do that annually, our reach will really rise. "